Jobless Claims: Slowly Declining But Still Over 2 Million

May 21, 2020
Bottom Line: 2.174 million people filed for claims last week. Over 2.4 million seasonally adjusted, the tally is the lowest since mid-March. Additionally, the prior week was revised modestly lower. Claims were lower in most states. States that were earlier to reopen, like Georgia, saw declines of ~25%, while larger states like California and New York, where backlogs of claims remain large, increased. Google search data suggests next week could be below 2 million on an unadjusted basis, right around 2 million after the seasonal adjustment. Overall, the level of claims remains staggering but is heading in the right direction as all 50 states have announced some loosening of shutdown measures. Jobless Claims FELL by 249k during the week ended May 16th to 2438k, compared with market expectations for an increase to 2400k. The 4-week average FELL by 501.0k to 3042k and the 13-week average ROSE by 171.0k to 3044k. Continuing Claims ROSE by 2525k during the week ended May 9th to 25,073k, after the prior week was revised moderately higher from 11,976k to 22,548k.The 4-week average ROSE by 2314k to 22,002k. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, Continuing Claims ROSE by 2063k to 22,942k during the week ended May 2nd. The Insured Jobless Rate ROSE by 1.7% to 17.2% during the week ended May 9th. The insured jobless rate only reflects the number of people collecting regular state unemployment insurance.